Friday, May 20, 2016

Playing in the Sand

Do you ever just want to have time to explore and try new “stuff” without having to worry about all the other things you have to do in a day? Sometimes I just need something to get myself more organized. And, since I love using technology, I am always looking for apps that can help me with getting organized and staying organized—at least in my own mind.

So today I bring you a list of things to just play around with—books to read, apps to try, and ways to take notes on your smart devices. Some are useful to use in your classroom with your students, some may even be applicable for use in an online classroom. They are in no particular order, so just play with them. Keep what you like, ignore what you don’t like. Have fun in the sandbox—just don’t throw sand at anyone.

Let me know which ones you really like and are using, or going to try.

Do Note—a superb Apple and Android app from IFTTT, which lets you, setup one-click notes which can be used for many online services. You can send a note to your email, add something to Evernote, or even add something to your Google Calendar by extracting the details from the text. Use it in your ongoing assessment by quickly noting things you notice in class.

41 Books Worth Reading

Background Burner—remove backgrounds from images

Photos for Class—age appropriate images, automatic citation, Creative Commons

Videvoa site with huge bank of free and creative commons high quality video clips.

ChatterPix KidsApple app for adding audio to photos. Personalize images with filters and fun stamps and then record voice or music, and share via social media or email. Use as great as a self-assessment tool by asking pupils to photograph their work and then talk about it.

Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Math: Modular Arithmetic (and Cryptography) modules

A Math: Modular Arithmetic (and Cryptography) module has been added to AEA PD Online's Student Personalized Learning system which can be paired with teacher learning of the module Mathematics: Networks (Vertex-Edge Graphs) Cluster found in the Training System.  These modules originally developed by Megan Balong of the University of Northern Iowa, support the Iowa Core Math Standards. Teachers can check out the teacher learning by logging into the Training System and the content for students by logging into the Student Personalized Learning system using the username and password that you use for the Training System  (this is where teachers may have taken mandatory trainings for your district).

Once you have logged into the Training System the Mathematics: Networks (Vertex-Edge Graphs) Cluster learning module can be found by clicking on Catalog then General Prof Development Modules.

To view the student content, once you have logged into the Student Learning system, click on Modules then Math and scroll to A Math: Modular Arithmetic (and Cryptography) .  If you wish to use these with students or have any questions please contact Denise Krefting ( or Melissa Wicklund (

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Upcoming Courses: June 1-July 15, 2016

See below for a list of upcoming online professional learning opportunities. 

To register, click on the activity number listed with each course. To conduct your own search for professional development classes, click here to go to the AEA PD Online catalog.

Advancing Minds: Collaborative Teaching - Making it Work
Register at 22031699991701
Course Dates: June 1-Aug. 5, 2016 Credit(s): 3

Advancing Minds: Helping Our Students with Behavioral Challenges
Register at 22029799991701
Course Dates: June 1-Aug. 5, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Agriculture and Technology take STEM & NGSS Beyond the Classroom - Creston
Register at 22035099991701
Course Dates: June 1-Aug. 10, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Agriculture helps meet Next Generation Science Standards - Fremont Co.
Register at 22033899991701
Course Dates: June 1-Aug. 1, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Pinterest: Using Pins, Boards, and More in Your Classroom
Register at 22022299991701
Course Dates: June 1-June 28, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Presentation Zen: Moving Beyond Power Point
Register at 22031399991701
Course Dates: June 1-June 28, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Methods of Teaching Elementary Fine Arts
Register at 22027899991701
Course Dates: June 5-June 26, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Building ELA Foundational Skills - The Voweletics Method
Register at 22016699991701
Course Dates: June 6-July 31, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Creatively Thinking with MinecraftEdu
Register at 22026399991701
Course Dates: June 6-Aug. 12, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Google Sites for the Classroom
Register at 22025199991701
Course Dates: June 6-June 30, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Integrating the Chromebook and Apps in the Content Area
Register at 22032399991701
Course Dates: June 6-July 11, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Physical Science for Elementary Teachers
Register at 22031499991701
Course Dates: June 6-July 29, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Reading in the Content Areas
Register at 22022499991701
Course Dates: June 6-July 15, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Teaching in a 1 to 1 Environment
Register at 22035299991701
Course Dates: June 6-July 8, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Teaching Music Today: The 21st Century Music Educator
Register at 22033499991701
Course Dates: June 6-July 15, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Advancing STEM learning with the LaunchPAD Children's Museum & Ag - Siouxland  
Register at 22034499991701
Course Dates: June 8-Aug. 15, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Creating Self-Motivated Learners
Register at 22034999991701
Course Dates: June 8-June 30, 2016
Credit(s): 1

MOLLIE: Blended Learning
Register at 22015099991701
Course Dates: June 8-July 12, 2016 

Credit(s): 2

MOLLIE: Designing Online Lessons, Including SoftChalk
Register at 22017999991701
Course Dates: June 8-July 12, 2016
Credit(s): 2

OLLIE: Introduction to the Online Learner
Register at 22001399991701
Course Dates: June 8-June 28, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Doing More with Google Drive - Classroom Application
Register at 22029499991701
Course Dates: June 12-Aug. 7, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Google Sites
Register at 22012899991701
Course Dates: June 12-Aug. 7, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Integrate Technology with 8 simple tools
Register at 22021899991701
Course Dates: June 12-July 10, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Intro to Google Apps: Tools to Integrate
Register at 22014599991701
Course Dates: June 12-Aug. 7, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Introduction to Google Apps
Register at 22007899991701
Course Dates: June 13-July 17, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Supporting Technology Literacy in Elementary Classrooms with Scratch Programming
Register at 22024299991701
Course Dates: June 13-July 18, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Build a Strong STEM Classroom Using Agriculture - Jasper Co.
Register at 22034399991701
Course Dates: June 14-Aug. 14, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Glogster: Project-Based Learning with Multimedia
Register at 22009099991701
Course Dates: June 20-July 31, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Google in the Classroom
Register at 22028899991701
Course Dates: June 20-July 31, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Intro to Google Classroom
Register at 22033399991702
Course Dates: June 20-July 10, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Photoshop Elements: Digital Imaging in the Classroom
Register at 22000499991701
Course Dates: June 20-July 10, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Developing Student-Directed Learning
Register at 22010499991701
Course Dates: June 22-July 22, 2016
Credit(s): 3 (License Renewal Only)

World Languages on the Go
Register at 22015399991701
Course Dates: June 23-July 21, 2016
Credit(s): 1 (License Renewal Only)

Effective Formative Assessment Using Tech Tools
Register at 22030699991701
Course Dates: June 26-July 23, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Total Participation Techniques
Register at 22020199991701
Course Dates: June 27-July 28, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Applying Next Generation Science Standards through Agriculture - Mahaska Co.
Register at 22033299991701
Course Dates: June 29-Aug. 31, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Learning Central Asia: Beyond the Headlines
Register at 22010199991701
Course Dates: June 29-July 27, 2016
Credit(s): 1 (License Renewal Only)

Agriculture to Teach NGSS in an Engaging Way - Siouxland (July)
Register at 22035199991701
Course Dates: July 1-Sept. 15, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Increasing Student Collaboration By Going Paperless
Register at 22033799991701
Course Dates: July 1-Sept. 1, 2016
Credit(s): 3

iPods & iPads for the Classroom
Register at 22004199991701
Course Dates: July 4-July 31, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Spanish for Educators Online
Register at 22000799991701
Course Dates: July 5-Aug. 16, 2016
Credit(s): 3

App Smashing: Using Universal Constructs to Benefit the 21st Century Learner
Register at 22035499991701
Course Dates: July 6-Aug. 17, 2016
Credit(s): 2

OLLIE: Introduction to the Online Learner
Register at 22001399991702
Course Dates: July 6-Aug. 2, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Personalized Learning: Helping Your Students Take Charge of their Learning
Register at 22027099991701
Course Dates: July 6-July 26, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Pinterest: Using Pins, Boards, and More in Your Classroom
Register at 22022299991702
Course Dates: July 6-Aug. 2, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Using Blended Learning/Technology to Teach Comprehensive Musicianship
Register at 22033599991701
Course Dates: July 6-Aug. 3, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Advancing Minds: How to Thrive as Teacher Leader
Register at 22035399991701
Course Dates: July 7-Sept. 5, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Google in the Classroom
Register at 22028899991702
Course Dates: July 8-Aug. 18, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Integrate Technology with 8 simple tools
Register at 22021899991702
Course Dates: July 10-Aug. 7, 2016
Credit(s): 2

How Do You Teach Reading-Speaking the Language of The Book Whisperer
Register at 22019399991702
Course Dates: July 11-Aug. 5, 2016
Credit(s): 1

iMovie: Digital Video in the Classroom
Register at 22000399991701
Course Dates: July 11-July 31, 2016
Credit(s): 1

MovieMaker: Digital Video in the Classroom
Register at 22000699991701
Course Dates: July 11-July 31, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Reverse Instruction - Flip Your Classroom
Register at 22014699991701
Course Dates: July 11-Aug. 12, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Using Iowa AEA Online Databases in the Science Classroom
Register at 22009299991701
Course Dates: July 12-Aug. 29, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Building Social Studies Literacy
Register at 22017199991701
Course Dates: July 12-Aug. 15, 2016
Credit(s): 2 (License Renewal Only)

MOLLIE: Blended Learning in the Elementary
Register at 22031899991701
Course Dates: July 13-Aug. 16, 2016
Credit(s): 2

OLLIE: Online Facilitation
Register at 22009699991701
Course Dates: July 13-Aug. 16, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Mesoamerica: Visions and Voices Part I: Mexico: A Land of Contrasts
Register at 22006299991701
Course Dates: July 14-Aug. 11, 2016
Credit(s):1 (License Renewal Only)

Iowa Core Fraction Domain for Grades 3-5
Register at 22023299991701
Course Dates: July 15-Sept. 5, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Monday, May 9, 2016

New Frontiers in Blended Learning

You may be interested in reading more about Blended Learning.  Here is the beginning excerpt:

The definition of blended learning continues to shift as technology opens up new possibilities and teachers embrace new instructional models. Lauren Quient, innovation manager for KIPP LA, says, “Teachers have always wanted students to have a personalized learning experience, and now technology has evolved to the point where that’s possible.” In districts large and small, the growing consensus seems to be that we’re at the frontier of a new age for teachers and learners. Here are some of their stories....

Read More and check out the author's additional tips

Friday, May 6, 2016

What’s in your stash (book stash, that is)?

The stash of books I want to read keeps growing and growing. In fact, I probably have enough in my pile to last several months past summer—which is a good thing.
Some of the books I want to read are just for my own pleasure-reading. They help me “rest” and escape from the flurry of everyday work. The others are to develop my own personal skills in being a better educator. So which do I start with—professional or personal? Maybe mix it up a bit.

Why read at all? What does reading do for you? What are the benefits of reading everyday?

For one, it keeps your brain active. It provides mental stimulation. Studies have shown that staying mentally active can slow the progress of Alzheimer’s and Dementia—and it may possibly help prevent them. The brain, just like any other muscle in your body, needs regular exercise to keep it strong and healthy.

Reading also provides some stress relief and may even lower your blood pressure.  A novel can transport you to a different “world”, distract you from the present, and allow you to relax. Reading also gives you new knowledge and that is always handy. The more you read the more you will expand your vocabulary. Reading to stay current with local and global issues will help you to be a better communicator when talking with colleagues and friends–.

In the last Friday Feature(April 29) I started a list of books on my “To read in the summer”. 

Here are five more I have added to that list:

Visible Learning for Teachers: maximizing impact on learning by John Hattie

“Recognizing what makes a difference enables reflection on how to do more that makes a positive difference. Reading this book should make obvious the swathes of time-consuming tasks that make no (or worse, negative) impact, making them easy to remove. It is fabulously well-researched.”
        Mary Bousted, general secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers

The Smartest Kids in the World: and how they got that way by Amanda Ripley

“Amanda Ripley follows three American teenagers who each chose to spend one school year living and learning in a different country: Finland, South Korea and Poland. Through their adventures, Ripley discovers startling truths about how attitudes, parenting and rigorous teaching have revolutionized these countries’ education results. Ripley’s astonishing insights reveal how kids learn to think for themselves, and that persistence and resilience matter more to our children’s life chances than self-esteem or sports.”
Andreas Schleicher, director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD

Outliers: the story of success by Malcolm Gladwell

“This is a must-read for teaching staff. Gladwell explores why some people achieve so much more than others, and puts forward the theory that none of us is naturally talented. Rather, we become good at things by working away, for 10,000 hours, at whatever it is we want to excel in.”

Helen Fraser, chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST)

Reading Without Nonsense by Frank Smith

“As a literacy teacher for 40 years, Frank Smith continues to be the theorist who most informs my work with children. In this refreshing book, Smith rightly characterizes much reading instruction as ‘ritual and nonsense’, starting with an overreliance on systematic phonics in both the UK and US. Instead, he urges teachers to understand what skilled readers actually do and what the beginning reader is trying to do.”

Nancie Atwell, author, teacher, winner of the inaugural Global Teacher Prize and founder of the Center for Teaching and Learning

I Am Malala: the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

“I suggest keeping a copy to hand and letting it inspire you on the days when the disadvantage that follows some children to school seems impossible to overcome, and when it all seems too hard. A book to remind us that education is precious, sought-after and fought for.”

Julia Gillard, chair of the board of directors, Global Partnership for Education

 Here is a link to another list of books for professional development that you may want to consider putting on your own summer reading list: Summer Reading List for Educators

Try this for fun:  

Go to the website: What should I read next 

Type in the title or author of a book you like.
The site will analyze their huge database of real readers' favorite books to provide book recommendations and suggestions for what to read next.

You may find some great choices to add to your own reading list.


Have fun composing your own summer reading list--and reading from it.

Now--back to one of my books.

Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.